Slutty Vegan: Though owner Aisha “Pinky” Cole is a native of East Baltimore, for the past five years, it’s been diners throughout New York, Georgia, and Alabama who have been blessed with her wildly popular plant-based burgers, which have been lauded by the likes of Snoop Dogg and Tyler Perry. Baltimoreans have gotten a taste of the meatless comfort foods at a few of Cole’s pop-ups throughout the years, but now—after launching 13 locations and a sit-down bar and restaurant in Atlanta—she is finally giving her eateries a permanent home here.
At a press conference at the Baltimore Peninsula today, it was announced that Cole’s Slutty Vegan and Bar Vegan concepts are expected to debut at Rye Street Market—the 235-acre community’s mixed-use office, retail, and food vendor space, where Cole will take on a role as a development partner—at the end of 2024.
Cole, also a vegan cookbook author and the founder of her own foundation that works to uplift entrepreneurs in marginalized communities, has become known for her massive Impossible and Beyond Meat burgers that come in varieties like the “Ménage à Trois” (a plant-based patty with vegan bacon, vegan shrimp, and all the fixins’) and the “Dancehall Queen,” which is topped with sweet jerk plantains that are an ode to her Jamaican-American heritage. Slutty Vegan also specializes in plant-based hot dogs, chick’n sandwiches, and seasoned fries. Can’t wait until next year to get a taste? In celebration of the news, the Slutty Vegan truck will be posted up at Tidewater Pier (321 E. Cromwell St.) from 1-8 p.m. on Oct. 26.
Smoke: Could a comeback be on the horizon for this ‘cue joint? Chef Josh White recently took to Instagram to tease the return of his late barbecue concept, which operated in Cockeysville’s Cranbrook Shopping Center and later opened a brief pop-up stall at Cross Street Market. Fans will remember White’s creative takes on smoked fare, including the famous bacon-wrapped dates, charred chicken wings, and gargantuan sandwiches and meat platters. We’re keeping our eyes peeled for updates.
Zoe’s Just Dezzerts: You may have spotted this local dessert purveyor at various events throughout town, but come November, the business will open the doors to a new brick-and-mortar bakeshop at 828 S. Charles St., the former home of Plantacea plant shop in Federal Hill. Of course, the treats—think: carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, Snickerdoodle cookies, and sour cherry tarts—are a draw, but the shop’s inclusive mission is even sweeter.
Owners Jennifer and Adrian Goldszmidt see the bakery as a means to foster community for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), like their daughter, the shop’s namesake Zoe, who has a passion for baking. “Zoe’s Just Dezzerts is our way of providing extraordinary baked sweets to our community while expanding opportunities for the neurodiverse spectrum, including Zoe,” reads a sign outside of the building. The Goldszmidts recently told the Baltimore Business Journal that they will be working with Itineris—a local nonprofit that helps adults with ASD find meaningful employment in the community—to recruit staff prior to next month’s grand opening.
FRIGHTENING FOOD EVENTS
10/27: A Wicked Affair at True Chesepeake
Ring in Halloweekend right with this fun prix-fixe at True Chesapeake in Hampden—which will be decked out in spooky decor by Tilled Studio. Come in costume to enjoy live music, specialty cocktails, and five courses with optional drink pairings. Chef Zack Mills’ themed menu will include dishes such as hand-formed noodles with black bean and smoked mussels, cabbage-wrapped catfish with creamed spinach, and a pistachio panna cotta for dessert.
10/28-31: The Harmery
This year, The Charmery is ditching its typical Halloween “Fear Factory” flavors (sweet tooth fiends likely remember daring scoops like “OJ & Toothpaste” and “Green Bean Casserole”) in favor of The Harmery, a four-day fleet of flavors that are “not meant to be gross, but to challenge your conception of what ice cream can be.” Sticking to the theme of “munchies,” all five locations will offer inventive scoops including “Flat Soda,” “White Queso with Flamin’ Hot Stracciatella,” and “Junk Food Nachos,” which replaces the typical chips and cheese with graham crackers, mini marshmallows, peanut butter cups, and M&Ms.
10/31: Ekiben’s Baoloween
Like clockwork every October, we wait for word on the return on Ekiben’s annual Halloween event, which offers serious discounts to fans who show up in costume. Last week, owners Steve Chu and Ephrem Abebe dropped details, emphasizing, as always, that diners must be wearing a legit costume in order to get the deal. So break out your Halloween best and head to any of the Ekiben locations in Fells Point, Federal Hill, or Hampden beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Halloween to get your hands on $3 steamed buns and $6 bowls. (Less than half of what they would typically set you back.)
1157 Bar + Kitchen: Earlier this month, chef/owner Jason Ambrose served his last charcuterie boards, orders of Korean fried chicken wings, and stacked cheeseburgers at this Locust Point gem, which was known for Ambrose’s comforting plates, as well as its craft beer and wine list. “It’s with a very heavy heart and after much consideration that I’ve decided to end regular dinner service at 1157,” he posted to Instagram. “After nearly nine years, we are unable to continue daily service. I couldn’t have asked for a better core staff or neighborhood to exist in. It’s been a rather rough few years, and this is the best decision for us.” The final night of service on Oct. 14 drew longtime regulars who were understandably saddened to see the spot go. But it’s not goodbye forever. Ambrose said in the post that, moving forward, 1157 will be available to cater private parties and pop-ups.